9/1/08

Monteverde, Costa Rica


There are three routes to Monteverde from La Fortuna but we're taking the shortest - some three hours - via a combination of car-boat-car mode of transport. A van picked us up and we were transferred into a boat waiting in Lake Arenal. As we were leaving, Arenal Volcano had another bout of diarrhea, clearly belching out debris down its flank. I'm not sure if I'm glad I'm leaving her behind.

I kayaked a part of this lake yesterday but I realize only now how immense it is at 125 square kilometers. Not all visitors know that this lake is man-made, created in 1973 as part of a hydroelectric power project. Interestingly, what remained of the old Arenal town devastated by the 1968 eruption of the volcano is now under water.


For more than half an hour, we cruised the lake and at one point stopping briefly to watch monkeys noisily playing on the treetops. The lake is fringed on all sides with bountiful greenery. I kicked off my shoes and my thoughts drifted to memorable boat rides I've tried in Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia and the Lake Titicaca in Peru.


We got off at Rio Chiquito and transferred into a van for the 1.5 hour butt-busting ride to Monteverde. It's a picturesque climb to the mountains, very much like going to Sagada in the Philippines. We passed by pockets of villages every now and then and forests in between. From the heat and humidity of La Fortuna, we went up to about 1500 meters above sea level in Monteverde. This cool little town along with nearby Sta. Elena, straddles the continental divide: on one side is the Pacific and the other is Atlantic.


We're staying at Hotel de Montana Monteverde - it's more like a rustic mountain lodge with squeaky wooden floors, no TV, plenty of hot water and great views of a nearby cloudforest and the Nicoya Gulf in the Pacific. We went looking for lunch and found ourselves in the center of town at Treehouse , appropriately called because the building encompasses an old fig tree to create a dramatic Lord-of-the-Rings kind of ambiance.


It's a rainy afternoon and we decided to hit the local market. The usual tourist kitsch is there and I got some souvenir refrigerator magnets for my collection - duh! (easier to stuff in my backpack, you see). Surprisingly, we bump into the same people we met in La Fortuna, most notably Marcel and Itamar and some other folks whose names I can't recall. It's such a small town after all.

Tomorrow is the day I fly again - no, not in an airplane - but through the zipline. Can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. No wonder I haven't heard from you. You're out exploring the planet again! As always, your
    pictures are beautiful. I, too, am leaving for Germany, Switzerland and Prague in a week,
    courtesy of my sister. I think there is not cure for our itchy feet...
    Take care always,
    Tina

    ReplyDelete

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